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One dead, two missing as Cristobal passes


One dead, two missing as Cristobal passes

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SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) – Tropical Storm Cristobal doused the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands with heavy rainfall as it moved slowly on a northern track in the Caribbean.

One man died over the weekend and two other people were reported missing when they were caught up by swollen rivers on the island shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

The U.S. National Hurricane Centre in Miami said Cristobal may strengthen into a hurricane Wednesday over the open Atlantic. The storm’s centre was expected to curve away from the U.S. East Coast.

The man who died was drowned when he tried to drive his pickup truck across a rushing river in the Dominican Republic’s Hato Mayor, a province northeast of the capital of Santo Domingo, Juan Manuel Mendez, the country’s emergency operations director, said yesterday.

The two missing people were swept away late Saturday by a river that burst its banks in the western Haiti port town of Saint Marc.

“We’re still looking for the bodies,” said Luckecy Mathieu, a civil protection coordinator.

Many residents in the sparsely populated southeastern Bahamas and the tiny British Caribbean dependency of the Turks and Caicos Islands hunkered down as Cristobal’s rains pelted windowpanes.

Captain Stephen Russell, head of the Bahamas’ emergency management agency, said there had been no reports of damage. Air traffic to the southeastern Bahamian islands had not been suspended, but sea vessels were advised to remain in port, he said.

Turks and Caicos Premier Rufus Ewing advised residents to remain indoors as much as possible because the island chain south of the Bahamas was still experiencing heavy rains and “extensive flooding in low-lying areas”, especially on Middle Caicos and North Caicos islands.

“The inclement weather is expected to linger for another 48 hours and the flooding is expected to worsen as a result,” Ewing said in a statement yesterday.

Cristobal, which formed as a tropical depression over the Turks and Caicos Islands on Saturday, is the fourth depression of the Atlantic hurricane season.

The storm’s maximum sustained winds today are near 60 miles per hour (95 kph).